MEGA-VICTORY: Bellingham city council abandons obnoxious automatic ticketing camera program

by | Mar 27, 2012

Last November, 68% of Bellingham voters passed our initiative against red-light cameras and speed cameras.  It turned out to be an advisory vote (because of an appeals court ruling).  Last night, that advice was taken.  Bellingham’s city council and mayor voted to abandon their obnoxious automatic ticketing camera program.  The voters spoke and their elected officials listened (how novel is that?).  We are thrilled.  Same thing happened in Mukilteo — voters spoke, electeds listened.  In Redmond, the 6000 signatures spurred the city council to cancel their contract and cameras were ‘yanked’ on January 31st.  Everywhere there’s been a vote, the voters have rejected those obnoxious ticketing cameras by huge margins.  City councils in Longview and Monroe still arrogantly ignore their voters’ ballot box mandate, but their continued litigation costs are making their ticketing cameras very unprofitable.  Bellingham’s mayor has illustrated that Monroe and Longview can also get out of their camera contract early if they really wanted to.  Last night was a mega-victory in our ongoing battle against those obnoxious ticketing cameras which are simply a taxation-through-citation scheme.          

Bellingham, ATS agree to suspend traffic safety camera program

THE BELLINGHAM HERALD, Tuesday, Mar. 27, 2012
http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2012/03/27/2455806/bellingham-ats-agree-to-suspend.html#storylink=cpy

Bellingham might get out of the business of traffic safety cameras before a single camera is installed.

The City Council approved an amendment Monday, March 26, to the contract between Bellingham and American Traffic Solutions that allows the city to opt out of installing the automated traffic safety cameras in Bellingham.

Mayor Kelli Linville proposed the contract after negotiations with American Traffic Solutions.  The contract was originally signed in May 2011 by the previous administration.

Under the amendment, the city will agree to pay American Traffic Solutions $100,000 prior to June 1, 2012.  In return, the city is granted control over if and when a traffic safety program will be implemented.

If the city chooses to move forward with a program any time in the next five years, American Traffic Solutions will be the vendor. If the city does not implement a camera program, the contract automatically expires on May 1, 2017.

For now, however, no camera system will be installed.  While the city will pay $100,000 in recognition of the binding contract, opting out of the program means the city will avoid annual lease payments of more than $400,000.

“Both sides worked together to find a fair and reasonable solution to this complicated situation,” said George J. Hittner, corporate secretary and general counsel for American Traffic Solutions.

In fall 2011, Bellingham voters approved an initiative restricting the cameras, with 68 percent voting in favor.  A court decision held that the citizens’ initiative had no legal force, but city officials continued working with company representatives “to find ways to honor the public’s wishes,” according to a city press release.

“I believe the approach we have crafted together is fair to both parties and, most importantly, supports our citizens’ wishes,” Linville said in the release.  “In working through this matter, American Traffic Solutions has acted as a responsive, respectful vendor and I appreciate the company’s willingness to work with us.”

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